Yoga Modifications for Painful Wrists – From an Oakville Physio

oakville physio clinic for joint replacement rehab and physio

The Physiotherapists at our North Oakville Physio clinic work hard to get you back doing the activities you love. Sometimes this means providing you with modifications to your sport or activity. These modifications often allow you to gradually return to activity / sport while continuing to progress your rehab. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

As places of activity and recreation will begin to reopen soon, many people may be jumping back into activity in ways they haven’t been doing in the past few months. Remember to take it slow. This helps your body build resilience and get used moving and working again.

As Physiotherapists, we don’t want to stop you from participating in activities of enjoyment. Often these activities are beneficial for your mental health and physical health.

So let us help you find a way to keep going!

A common complaint we hear with people doing yoga, in particular with poses on the hands, is wrist pain. The wrist is made of many small bones and joints.

The role of your hips, knees, and ankles is to support your weight. The role of your hands, wrists and shoulders are to reach, grip, pull and push.

Does this mean putting weight through your hands and wrists in poses such as table, down dog, planks and handstands is “bad”?


What is does mean is that we may need to be mindful training these areas to support our weight for longer periods of time.

It can be difficult in a class setting to slow down and give yourself permission to opt out of, or substitute certain movements. It is ok to do this! For your longevity of the activity, please modify! Your instructor should not be offended if you make modifications. If a yoga instructor is offended or insistent upon following along completely, perhaps the relationship is not a good fit.

There are easy modifications during a class you can make to help prevent wrist pain. These are even easier during a home practice because you can be more inclined to move out of a pose.

Use Your Mat.

If you have no tools available and limited options, you can always use your yoga mat to help support your wrists. Roll or fold the mat. Then place under the heels of your hand. This can help prevent wrist pain because the ankle of extension (backward bend) at the wrist is less.

Use a Prop

There are special yoga props and tools available to help modify your poses to help with wrist pain. Our Oakville Physio’s often direct pattens with wrist pain to use an angled yoga block. If this isn’t available, even using sturdy yoga blocks with the heels and palms f the hand on the front of the block and the fingers hanging off the edge or curled around.

There are also tools designed for pushups that work well in these situations.

Use a Chair or the Wall

If getting down to the floor and putting weight through your wrists is still too challenging, using the wall or a chair for some poses is s nice option. Remember your yoga does not have to look like someone else’s yoga.

Hand Positioning and Shoulder Strength

If you have wrist pain when you do yoga or an activity where you put weight through your hands, it may be helpful to build your hand arches.

Look and see if your fingers are spread out and your palm if completely flat when you put your weight through it. It may help helpful to support your wrist by building hand strength, and encouraging an arch.

Having strong shoulders can also help share the load in some of these poses. As Physiotherapists we would provide a treatment program to encourage this if necessary.

Our North Oakville Physiotherapists can help design a treatment plan for you to help with your wrist pain. If your wrist pain is lifting you from participating in activities like yoga, yard work, housework, computer work or lifting weights, we are here to help.

Providing modification is one thing included in Physio treatment to keep you going. A physiotherapist may also provide hands-on joint mobilization or stretching, ways to do joint mobilizations and stretches at home (through virtual physio), as well as direction with ice / heat and possibly tape or wraps.

It is never a one size fits all solution. Everyone is different.

We are seeing patients in person in our Oakville Physio clinic as well as virtually throughout Ontario. Call (905) 582-9700 to make an appointment or email for more information on how we can help!